Pervert caught in the act by paedophile hunters walks free from court
Married dad Peter Curd, aged 29, avoids jail for trying to send online sex messages to women posing as underage girls
A pervert has avoided jail for trying to send sex messages to underage girls – before he was snared by paedophile hunters.
Married dad Peter Curd sent pornographic pictures to social media users he believed to be 13 and 14 years old, a jury decided.
He was in fact in contact with adult women who were part of a group called Predator HunTers looking to flush out online paedophiles, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
Curd, aged 29, even arranged to meet one of the decoys but failed to turn up at the meeting point – as members of the group lay in wait to grab him.
Handing him a suspended prison sentence, Judge James Townsend said: “These were determined attempts by you to obtain sexual gratification through your explicit communication with the girls, whom you believed to be under 16.
“You requested to see the girls’ private parts and also you sent at least one picture of your genitals.”
But the judge added that sending Curd to prison would not give enough time for him to complete sex offender treatment.
The maximum jail term for the relatively new offence is just two years.
Curd, of Colwill Road, Estover, went on trial for three days in December after claiming that someone had hacked his phone and tried to frame him.
But a jury saw through his far-fetched story and convicted him of two counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child between June 4 and June 25 2017.
Two women from Predator HunTers posed as a 13-year-old called Chelsea Breckon and Zoe Jones, aged 14, on dating site Waplog and messaging app Kik.
Curd used a series of different phones to send them sexually explicit pictures including a man performing an indecent act.
He also sent the decoys a picture of his face.
Both women said within the first few messages that they were teenage girls, the court heard.
Curd arranged a meeting with the woman posing as the younger girl at a retail park near Hereford.
He failed to show up as Predator HunTers waited to detain him and call the police.
The group handed the details to officers – who were able to trace him to Plymouth through phone records.
Jason Beal, for Curd, said his client continued to protest his innocence. The court heard he and his partner had a child together and he had two step-children through her previous relationship.
He said that the meeting in Hereford was a “fantasy” and he never took any steps to make the trip.
The barrister added that Curd, who had been the main breadwinner for his family had lost his job because of the conviction.
Mr Beal said that Curd was willing to work with probation.
Judge Townsend said that sending him to prison would not give him enough time to complete his sex offender treatment.
He added: “The result would be that upon your release you would pose a greater danger of re-offending in my judgement.”
The judge handed Curd an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with sex offender treatment. He must also do 120 hours unpaid work.
Curd was also given a ten-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order which will limit his access to children and allow police to monitor his internet use.
He must sign the Sex Offender Register for the same period.